c/o NIGHTWATCH RECORDING
PO BOX 721010
BERKLEY, MI 48072
WEB SITE: www.nightwatchrecording.com
Editor: Joseph Physician
Eventide Staff: Jean Elliot, David James, Lawrence Bletsch
PRINTED IN U.S.A.
I will devote myself to the study of War and Politics,
that my children will have the right to study Science and Mathematics,
that their children will have the right to study Art and Music.
---paraphrased from John Adams, 1780
FROM THE EDITOR
My duties at EVENTIDE necessitate the need for going back
and reviewing past newsletters to get a better picture of where we have been---
to get a better picture of where we are going. Upon reading of Owain Phyfes
love for the works of Ayn Rand (EVENTIDE Issue #2), I opted for another
shot at reading Atlas Shrugged (Signet, 1959). Within the night, I found
the following passage that articulates perfectly, for me, how music should make
a person feel about what they are hearing:
She sat listening to the music. It was a symphony of triumph. The notes flowed up, they spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and the form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that had ascent as its motive. It was a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open. It had the freedom of release and the tension of purpose. It swept space clean and left nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort. Only a faint echo within the sounds spoke of that from which the music had escaped, but spoke in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had to be. It was the song of an immense deliverance.
I ask you, dear reader, how does your music (how does your art) of choice affect you? Drop us a line.
In the meantime, this issue of EVENTIDE continues with ongoing reviews and releases, not to mention, controversy and conspiracy.
AT LAST! ALAS: CANTIGA RELEASE
An EVENTIDE introduction by Owain Phyfe
I can still remember, quite vividly, a frosty October, Michigan morning, driving to work, some years ago, when I first cracked the wrapper and popped an underground CANTIGA cassette into the cars player. The music I heard changed my life.
I had been searching for years to find the right musicians to form the instrumentalist contingent for The New World Renaissance Band, and... here they were. Even today, the music from CANTIGA elicits a sweet, knot-in-the-stomach feeling not unlike the remembrance of a first chance-encounter with an eventual lifelong love. And now... to announce the release of their 2nd, all instrumental compact disc, Magic Steps, is more than just a privilege --- it is the joy of witnessing the success of one who is cherished.
My own raison detre being the Arts, I readily express my views on the subject: that the purpose of Art is contemplation, that, in the case of music, this means contemplation through a given emotion --- music being a series of periodic sound vibrations which become the audio counterpart of a given human emotion. CANTIGAs Magic Steps CD, like their previous recording, Once Upon A Time, is built upon an emotional content which is indeed a pleasure through which to contemplate ones own discovery of the world. You will not find in this collection bitter contentiousness, hostile cynicism, or even exaggerated sentimentality (these being among the prevailing emotions in current popular music). Instead, you will find elegance, simplicity, grandeur, pride, stateliness, beauty, eloquent sorrow, and whimsical merriment.
The CDs twelve cuts play out this way:
(1) Branle Des Chevaux (The Horses Brawl) (3:02) 16th Century French Dance
(2) La Volta (5:05) 16th Century Romantic Dance
(3) Country Dances (3:58) From John Playfords The English Dancing Master (1651)
(4) Harlequin Hornpipe (3:41) Traditional Fiddle Tune
(5) Aran Boat Song (4:07) Irish Traditional
(6) Ja Nuns Hons Pris (3:42) Richard The Lionheart (1157-1199)
(7) Branle De LOfficial (1:47) 16th Century French Dance
(8) Ganglot (2:35) Swedish Walking Song
(9) Cantiga 100 (4:23) From Cantigas de Santa Maria Alfonso El Sabio, 13th Century
(10) Miss Judges Jig (3:32) Turlough OCarolan (1670-1738)
(11) Tarantella (3:24) Italian Dance
(12) The Parting Glass (2:23) Irish Traditional
Magic Steps fittingly, opens with The Horses Brawl. It showcases a counterpoint viola da gamba performance by guest artist Alexandre (Sasha) Raykov. (Yes, this is the same Sasha who has appeared with me at many a Ren Faire.) The pieces embodied emotion is one of measured euphoria midst a dignified call to adventure --- as if to declare: Onward and Upward! (We assure you, gentle readers, that this will not be the last youll hear of Master Sasha on NIGHTWATCH RECORDING.)
The Irish Traditional Aran Boat Song, cut #5, is my favorite Magic Steps selection. I indeed think it epitomizes the group CANTIGA and, yes, evokes those fragile, haunting feelings I attempted to describe at the outset of this introduction. Might I suggest a glass of port and a late-night, quiet, candle-lit room to accompany this particular song. In fact, before you polish off that port, you might give ear to Ja Nuns Hon Pris, Ganglot, and Cantiga 100 (cuts #6, #8 and #9). I suspect that these songs will prove to be sleeper favorites endearing themselves inextricably through repeated listening. For me, thats already beginning to happen.
Bottom line: Magic Steps presents all the familiar strides of CANTIGA in top form: Martha Gays steady hand on harp, the unmistakable playful sound of Bob Bielefelds woodwinds, the simple, articulate warmth of Max Dyers cello, all uplifted by the percussion of Ray Dillard. The result is, quite simply, a musical world to delight in visiting. And especially, in the case of this CD, the collection takes on a more-than-usual, personal importance to all of us in its capture of some of the last recording sessions of passionate play of the late CANTIGA co-founder, fiddlist Malcolm Smith (1951-1996). Magic Steps is appropriately dedicated to his memory. A
In 1990, the group CANTIGA joined forces with vocalist Owain Phyfe to form The New World Renaissance Band. FOR ORDERING INFORMATION REGARDING CANTIGA, THE NEW WORLD RENAISSANCE BAND, AND OWAIN PHYFE, SEE THE ENCLOSED NIGHTWATCH RECORDING CATALOGUE.
Did You Think Conspiracy Was A New Concept?
San Francisco -- November 12 - 15, 1998 --- Under the banner of Edward
deVeres Viscount Bulbeck coat of arms portraying a lion shaking
a spear (pictured left), members of The Shakespeare Oxford Society
gathered in the city by the bay for their 22nd annual conference delving
ever deeper into the longstanding, albeit revitalized, controversy surrounding
the authorship of the plays and sonnets of William Shake-speare. (Shake-speare
is spelled here as it appears on the original 1609 publication of the poets
sonnets.) It is the unshakeable belief (pun intended) of the Society that William
Shakespeare was, in fact, the pen-name of Edward deVere, Earl of Oxford.
How is it, they ask, that a rustic from Stratford could have exhibited such
insight into the intimacies of courtly life as well as an expertise in languages
he reportedly never studied, and an in depth knowledge of countries and cultures
he never visited? Indeed, how is it that the greatest master of the English
language never owned a book and that he would have even allowed his own children
to grow up illiterate?
Armed with convincing arguments to some clearly valid concerns, the Oxfordian position has, through the years, managed to rally a number of formidable advocates to its growing intellectual and thespian ranks; among them: Walt Whitman, Henry James, Mark Twain, John Galsworthy, Sigmund Freud, Vladimir Nabokov, David McCullough, Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Sir John Gielgud, Michael York, Patrick Stewart, Sir Derek Jacobi, Kenneth Branagh, Henry Thoreau, Ambrose Bierce, Lysander Spooner, and H. L. Mencken. If you think you might like to take the gloves off and join the debate, heres a web site to peruse and a list of recommended reading:
Shakespeare Oxford Society
PO Box 263
Somerville, MA 02143
Alias Shakespeare by Joseph Sobran
The Mysterious William Shakespeare by Charlton Ogburn
Shakespeare Identified by J. thomas Looney
Music for this years conference, held at San Franciscos Clift Hotel, was provided by vocalist Owain Phyfe and viola da gamba master Sasha Raykov. The two Nightwatch Recording artists also conducted a workshop/lecture on the value of Renaissance music for the 21st Century.
In Case You Missed It
Nantucket, Massachusetts ---
Issue #10 (Spring 98) of Renaissance Magazine (Phantom Press
Publications) devoted itself to a celebration of music of The Renaissance and
Medieval periods, featuring The New World Renaissance Band in a major article
and displaying the portrait and pensive stare of vocalist Owain Phyfe on its
striking cover. Our congratulations go out to Ren Mag Editor, Kim Guarnaccia,
and writers Cynthia Soroka and Mistress Isa (of the Blooming Rose) for a very
accurate and insightful presentation of the band. (There are still a few copies
available. We recommend getting a subscription. 508-325-0411)
Attention: Koalas and Kookaburras
Bellingen, Australia --- Music
of Cantiga, Owain Phyfe, and The New World Renaissance Band is now available
in the land down under. Thats right, mate, thanks to the efforts of Mr.
Geoff Byng and his upstart distribution company, VORTEX ( http://www.key.net.au/~vortex/index.html
). Mr Byng is making a go of it by show casing the music of recondite and underground,
independent recording companies around the globe: Many of VORTEXs
contractees are small companies with under twenty discs in the catalog. I can
never pass up music which I think Australians should hear.
Not only was NIGHTWATCH impressed by Geoffs entrepreneurial spirit, but it seems that this Australian is also a romantic in the classic sense. (see letters to the Editor: Dear Nightwatch )
If everything goes according to plan, VORTEX hopes to expand soon to include distribution in New Zealand. Attention: Tuataras.
At the risk of turning this issue of EVENTIDE into an unabashed lovefest promoting NIGHTWATCH RECORDING CDs, heres a recent review of The New World Renaissance Bands third CD, Odyssey, from Chico, California based MAGICAL BLEND MAGAZINE.
by The New World Renaissance Band
Have you ever been to Strausbourg on the French/German border? This is a city that somehow got stuck in the Renaissance era. In my youth, I had the joy of spending a period of time living with some European musicians who performed Renaissance music in Strausbourg taverns. The experience brings chills to my spine as I write this --- as did this CD. If you have ever enjoyed a modern-day Renaissance faire or a special pagan or science fiction gathering, you will love this music. Owain Phyfes vocals are melodious and hypnotic, at times invoking the Latin language, which adds further to overall authenticity. I can easily close my eyes while listening to this music, lie back and dream myself back into the Renaissance era. This music feels like Leonardo daVinci and Michelangelo, without the Black Plague.
---Michael Peter Langevin
Magical Blend Magazine
Who through music move the soul,
And bring the vaults keen breath
Tinfuse our earthly fumblings
Bring light to our dull slumberings.
With NIGHTWATCH I have plighted troth
Quilled my mark to parchment oath
To bring their music and its grace
Of ancient days, to this far place.
Our hearths and homes so distant lie
Yet oer us all the same blue sky,
Though weve built countries far from home
In times past, our roots were one;
So come, New World Renaissance Band
Ill bring your music to this land
Reflections on contract with NIGHTWATCH RECORDING: extending to VORTEX distribution rights for Australia
NIGHTWATCH: Now thats how business ought to be conducted!
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